Whether it’s you or a family member, receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is a frightening outlook for one’s future mental and physical health. According to the Bright Focus Foundation, every 66 seconds, someone in America develops Alzheimer’s. It is estimated that nearly 500,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s disease will be diagnosed this year, and more than 5-million Americans already have the disease. The foundation estimates that by the year 2050, 14-million Americans over the age of 65 could be diagnosed and living with the disease.
Dr. David Perlmutter, neurologist, who has lectured on the relationship of Alzheimer’s and changes in gut bacteria, states in the article Reversing Alzheimer’s with Probiotics, “We know, for example, that Alzheimer’s is an inflammatory condition. As well, we know that changes in gut bacteria enhance inflammation. So it seemed quite reasonable to assume that damage to, and loss of diversity in, gut bacteria could hasten brain degeneration so characteristic of Alzheimer’s.”
Can Good Bacteria Reverse the Alzheimer’s Process?
Dr. Perlmutter goes on to ask, “If damage to the gut bacteria relates to worsening of the brain in Alzheimer’s disease, could restoration of good bacteria using probiotics help the situation?”
Could probiotics be the silver bullet that researchers have been looking for in lessening the effects of Alzheimer’s? Results from a study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience on the effects of probiotics and the disease seem to suggest so.
The 60 participants in the study were between the ages of 65 through 95 and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. The study lasted for 12 weeks and the participants were equally divided into two groups. Before the study began, each participant was giving a mental function test (MMSE) and highly sensitive c-reactive protein (hs-CRP) blood test that is a powerful marker showing inflammation. Both tests were repeated at the end of the study to show any results the probiotics had in affecting the disease.
The Results Were Stunning!
One group received a placebo and the other group received a probiotic milk containing the probiotic species of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus fermentum.
According to Dr. Perlmutter, “The results of the study were stunning. The placebo group showed an increase in hs-CRP, the inflammation marker, by an impressive 45%. In the group taking the probiotic, on the other hand, hs-CRP didn’t just stay the same, but actually declined by 18% indicating a dramatic reduction in inflammation.”
As would be expected, the placebo group declined mentally over the 12 weeks of testing with their MMSE scores dropping from 8.47 to 8.00. Whereas, the group taking the inflammation reducing probiotics actually had their mental scores improving with their MMSE scored rising from 8.67 to 10.57. The probiotic participants not only had their mental decline cease, but their brain function improved.
The study seems to show the important correlation between inflammation and healthy gut bacteria and it having an important implication on the health of the brain and its function, as well as resistance to disease.
Dr. Perlmutter notes, “Recognizing that inflammation is the mechanism underlying not just Alzheimer’s disease, but Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, coronary artery disease, and even cancer means that the findings in this report may have wide implications.”
It would seem as the study suggests, keeping our gut bacteria healthy and by the addition of probiotics in our diet could lead to less inflammation and a possible and eventual cure to Alzheimer’s. If you have concerns about Alzheimer’s please schedule a consultation today! One of our holistic doctors can guide you through lifestyle changes which may help prevent or postpone the disease.
Circle of Docs: Dr. David Perlmutter: Reversing Alzheimer’s with Probiotics
Alzheimer’s Association: What is Alzheimer’s?
Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience: Effect of Probiotic Supplementation on Cognitive Function and Metabolic Status in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Randomized, Double-Blind and Controlled Trial